On September 24, 2022 the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the River Deben’ was read, alongside an application for the river to be legally designated with “bathing water” status, which was signed by members of the town and Woodbridge’s Mayor, Patrick Gillard. The ‘Declaration of the Rights of the River Deben’ is based off the ‘Universal Declaration of the Rights of Rivers’, drafted by the Earth Law Center, which was designed to be adapted to suit individual rivers.
The Declaration proclaimed the River Deben to have the right:
– to flow freely
– to perform essential functions within its ecosystem
– to be free from pollution
– to regeneration and restoration
– to feed and be fed by sustainable aquifers
– to native biodiversity
The Declaration also asserts that the river shall be entitled to the appointment of one or more legal guardians that will act on behalf of the river’s rights (such as the organization Save The Deben).
This declaration is the result of a campaign by the organization Save The Deben which is a response to growing concerns over the river’s water quality and pollution.